PSP NCMPs file debate motion on an 'independent & impartial Speaker' after Tan Chuan-Jin's hot mic comment

PSP said the comment Tan Chuan-Jin made was a "serious matter".

Fiona Tan | July 14, 2023, 06:14 PM

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Progress Singapore Party's (PSP) Non-Constituency Members of Parliament (NCMPs) Leong Mun Wai and Hazel Poa have filed a debate motion, in response to a comment made by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin back in Apr. 2023.

Tan Chuan-Jin and the hot mic

A Jul. 10, 2023 Reddit post pointed out that Tan muttered "f*cking populist" during the April 2023 Parliament session.

A video clip of the Apr. 17 sitting was attached to the post.

Tan could be seen and heard making the comment under his breath after he called on PAP Member of Parliament (MP) Vikram Nair to speak after a speech given by Workers' Party MP Jamus Lim.

Lim spoke about poverty in Singapore and called on the government to establish an official poverty line and refine ComCare support.

Calls for an "independent and impartial" Speaker of Parliament

In a Jul. 14 Facebook post, PSP described the hot mic incident as a "serious matter".

PSP claimed it deserves a full parliamentary debate as it touches on parliamentary privileges, professional ethics, and the impartiality and independence of the office of the Speaker.

PSP said that "ensuring the Parliament is fair to all" starts with the Speaker and their debate motion is as follows:

"That this House reaffirms its commitment for the need for the Speaker of Parliament to be independent and impartial, and for Parliament to be a fair arena for all."

On the topic of debates, PSP claimed that some parliamentary procedures and processes also need to be changed to facilitate more constructive and productive debates.

As such, its NCMPs will also be suggesting reforms to ensure that Parliament is a "fair arena for all".

Apologised for "unparliamentary language"

Tan himself has acknowledged the video in a Jul. 11 Facebook post, and said he appeared to have a "reaction" to Lim's speech.

"When I listen to speeches made, like everyone, I do form views on them. What was said were my private thoughts which I had muttered to myself and not to anyone."

Stating that he should not have expressed his views aloud or in "unparliamentary language", Tan apologised for that.

He added that he has also apologised to Lim, which the latter has accepted.

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Top image screenshot from Ministry of Communications and Information/YouTube